Found June 19, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Rookie linebacker Michael Mauti was on the Minnesota Vikings' practice field Tuesday as he has been many times during the past few weeks, but Tuesday was different.Instead of working on the side with athletic trainers, Mauti had a helmet for the first time in practice since he was drafted by Minnesota in the seventh round. Mauti, recovering from another knee surgery that caused his fall in the draft, was shadowing the team's other middle linebackers, following in their footsteps as he tries to acclimate to the defense.Mauti, the former Penn State linebacker, is still on track to be a full participant when training camp opens in July. For Mauti though, practicing even on a limited basis Tuesday was important in his mind, to remind the coaches who is out there wearing the white No. 56 jersey."It feels great, just to give the coaches something to see, like, 'Hey, I'm not just standing around. Hey, this guy can actually contribute this season,'" Mauti said. "I feel great doing what I'm doing, just to be kind of running around with the guys and going through the reps, it feels real good."Mauti has been waiting for the moment to get back on the field, even though he was limited to mostly individual drills Tuesday. He saw three of his college seasons end because of knee injuries, three times tearing the anterior cruciate ligament. His NFL career was in doubt after his latest ACL tear in November.Mauti -- an intense, thickly built 6-foot-2 and 243 pounds -- had the makings of a prototypical middle linebacker. His knees were betraying the rest of his body. But he knew he would make it back from his latest injury. He was so confident, he sent a note to all 32 NFL teams in December to stress how dedicated he was to returning.He didn't think the letter would become public. It did."I just wanted that to be between me and the general managers," Mauti said in April after being drafted in the seventh round by the Vikings. "I wanted to let them hear from me about where I was and where my mindset was on getting back and healthy. I know I'll be ready again and it's all about how you rehab and fight back."Mauti's fight finally has him back on the field doing football drills instead of cutting through sand chasing soccer balls, as he did during his rehab."He seems to be a guy who's pretty driven," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said. "He has an idea of what he thinks he can accomplish and how he can get it done; a guy with a single focus, which is not a bad thing at the position that we're asking him to play. So, very focused guy, goal-oriented, has strong beliefs in his abilities, and those are good traits to have when you're a linebacker."Mauti, the son of former New Orleans Saints receiver Rich Mauti, said Tuesday he's right where he wants to be schedule-wise in his rehab, which has always focused on being ready for training camp. He says he feels as good now as he has throughout the entire process and getting out in individual drills Tuesday showed how close he is."Going through the individual stuff, I'm cutting as hard as I can," Mauti said. "Nothing is holding me back at this point. At this point, just going at it hard and really just kind of teaching those muscles again to fire and be more explosive and get up to that to 100 percent, where I was."Mauti is trying to get a handle on the mental elements, while he's waiting to be physically be released to do everything. He isn't putting a percentage on where he is physically and is leaving the decision on his participation up to head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman.Mauti's expectation, though, is being back in that helmet and doing the drills himself -- instead of shadowing Erin Henderson and Audie Cole -- when training camp begins."Right now, it's going to be up to the trainers and the medical staff as far as the way I feel," Mauti said. "That's what my expectations are. I expect to be ready. We'll see how that goes. It depends on a number of different things. I have every expectation to be out there and running around. I feel great right now and don't intend for there to be any setbacks." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Vikings TE Colin Anderson says teammate Sharrif Floyd is the toughest player he ever faced

Colin Anderson was the most underrated tight end prospect in this draft. Out of all the small school tight ends, he is the best pure all around athlete in my opinion.  I believed Anderson would have been drafted, but unfortunately he wasn’t. He was however signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. Colin is a special talent, he has great hands, and is very...

Matt Cassel may challenge Christian Ponder for the Vikings starting quarterback spot

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, some people believe that Matt Cassel is good enough to challenge Christian Ponder for the Vikings starting quarterback spot. Christian Ponder is Vikings starter. Yet some believe Matt Cassel is good enough to challenge for starting job this year. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 18, 2013 “There are enough people around the league that...

Leslie Frazier says it is not necessary for Adrian Peterson to rush for 2000 yards

Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league by far, and it is not important if he rushes for 2000 yards according to Leslie Frazier. “It’s not imperative that (Adrian Peterson) rushed for 2,000 yards, or 2,500 yards, for us to win,” coach Leslie Frazier said this week, via The Associated Press. “Our offense always is going to run through Adrian, but we want to be able...

Christian Ponder continuing his development for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- For all of the offseason maneuvering, free-agent signings and new draft picks, the Minnesota Vikings' 2013 season hinges on the continued development of quarterback Christian Ponder. It's the basic premise of the NFL: A team's success is dependent on the quality of its quarterback play. Minnesota knows the inescapable truth. Ponder, often maligned...

Vikings' Chad Greenway says he will be ready for training camp

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Less than a week from arthroscopic knee surgery, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway is walking unhindered and said he will be ready for the start of training camp on July 26. Greenway, 30, had a minor "clean up" surgery on June 12 to ensure he would be ready for training camp after having trouble pop up with his knee during organized team activities...

Greg Jennings Poses In His New Vikings Uniform

This is still kinds weird to see Jennings in a Vikings uni.  Going from Favre to Rodgers is one thing, going from Rodgers to Ponder is another. Bad Ass Pic Of Purple Jesus New Vikings Punter Loves To Hold The Ball

Greenway feels ‘great’ after ‘minor’ surgery

Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway is focused on being ready for training camp and is confident he will be after minor knee surgery last week.

Erin Henderson maintains his status as Vikings' man in the middle

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. With reports swirling about the Minnesota Vikings' interest in recently released inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, Erin Henderson offered a reminder following the first day of the team's mandatory minicamp. "I'm playing the Mike," Henderson said. It's Henderson who moved from his starting spot as weakside linebacker for the past two...

Bad Ass Pic Of Purple Jesus

All Day Juan… Love this pic and the new unis for the Vikings are bad ass as well.  81 more days! AP’s Muscles Have Muscles Adrian Peterson Practices His Backswing

Desmond Bishop to Join Illustrious Group of Former Packers to Sign with Vikings

For some players, it's a devastating injury that in hindsight becomes a career defining moment for the better. For others, it becomes an issue of money, where their former employers become clench their tight asses a BIT too hard and must release a player. Sometimes, your name is Brett Favre and people just don't like you. For Desmond Bishop, former Green Bay Packers inside...

Linebacker Desmond Bishop works out for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings confirmed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop was in for a workout with the team, but the team says it is just doing its "due diligence" in checking out the former leading tackler for Green Bay. Minnesota still has an undetermined spot open at linebacker, currently on the weakside after Erin Henderson's move...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.